Buying United Miles at Under 1.4 Cents Apiece

MileCollector emails that the shopping portal site is offering 150 points per dollar on purchases at OpenSky.

Earlier I wrote a post, half-finished, and hit publish instead of ‘save draft’. So some may have seen this in their RSS feed. I abandoned the post for a brief time, though, when I started reading about the Open Sky rewards program and saw some folks over at Slickdeals being told that they would receive Open Sky rewards points rather than Mypoints. But the bulk of folks in that thread seem to be confirming and confident that it is indeed Mypoints that they’re earning.

Here’s the value proposition: 10,100 Mypoints convert to 5,000 United miles So $67.34 in purchases buys 5000 United miles, for a cost of $0.01346 per mile. You can spend up to $500 with this offer, apparently.

Oh, and you also get whatever products you buy — be it a cellulite brush, makeup kit, scarf or mattress pad. Perhaps you can even eBay the items.

If you don’t want United miles, 4000 points ($26.67 in purchases) gets you a $25 Hyatt gift certificate. Better still $46 in purchases gets you enough points for a Marriott $50 gift certificate.

It’s just about a 100% rebate or even a little more, not accounting for shipping which is $7.95 for the first item purchased and $3.95 each additional item in your shopping cart.

Here are the Mypoints various travel-related redemptions.

My advice, if you choose to pursue this offer, is to take screen shots throughout the process and be prepared to follow up to ensure your Mypoints post. And then follow up to ensure once you redeem your Mypoints that you receive your reward as well. And be sure to follow up promptly if your points don’t post, they are supposed to within 30 days after the transaction. And you want to make sure you stay within the window in which you can dispute the purchase with your credit card company if things don’t go smoothly.

This offer is available until September 30, “or until the maximum number of Points have been claimed. Once the maximum number of Points have been claimed, the offer will no longer be available and you will be directed back to the MyPoints website.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I don’t know why, but I signed up for the beef jerky of the month 6 month membership…if I don’t get the miles, at least I get some (hopefully) good beef jerky!

  2. You gotta buy a boatload of beef jerky to fly in First Class over the pond. Hope you have extended family to unload them in case this goes down the drain.
    I am out….

  3. I was also going to post something about this until I saw the confusion over whether you will earn MyPoints or relatively worthless SkyPoints. I’m still not sure, but it does look like this one might be worth taking a risk on.

  4. Looks like it’s for OpenSky points rather than MyPoints:

    This offer valid on purchases up to $500 per household. If you cancel, exchange or return your purchase, Points awarded for your original transaction will be deducted from your account.

    Points are available until 9/30/12, or until the maximum number of Points have been claimed. Once the maximum number of Points have been claimed, the offer will no longer be available and you will be directed back to the MyPoints website.

    Your Points will be credited within 30 days of completing the transaction.

    OpenSky points are different from Points earned in the MyPoints program and may not be used for MyPoints rewards.

  5. They have since added a pop up which says Opensky points are different from My Points. That wasn’t initially displayed.

    @ Gary. Any guess on whether they will honor the deal if the clickthru was before they changed the conditions?

  6. @Rado it’ll be interesting to watch but i imagine they’ll certainly have to honor returns at the very least! Their customer service reps were TELLING PEOPLE they would receive Mypoints.

  7. @Rado – I just tried to click through again and did not receive the popup. One of the readers @ Frequent Miler even noted:
    “Open sky 150 points for dollar is even listed when you look at all merchants in mypoints.
    This is the page that shows the merchants listed and the amount of points you get per dollar.
    They also state
    Get an unheard of 150 Points per dollar on your purchase with OpenSky!”

  8. I got the mypoints email myself and pondered it. I dont often take them up on much more than click thru’s for the 5 points in my email all the time, but I do sometimes, and have thus amassed over 20k points doing this over a long time. One day I will redeem for something but it’s just a simple click most of the time so I havent given it much thought until now. In cases where I do buy a thing for greater amounts of points, I have found that when I do get an offer it actually does come through like they said it would, and Mypoints seems good about posting on time and in full without error. If there ever has been an error (and I keep records of everything til points post in full) I find that lately, their CS team will research and fix things if and where needed. So Mypoints appears to honor what they promote (unlike Cartera or FreeCause who could definitively re-neg on something as grand as this if people were to actually max out on it)

    Anyway, this 150/$1 thing could have worth to some, but then again I did some very rough math… If you spend $500 you end up with I think 35,000 UA miles. To me, a ticket that needs that many miles probably would have cost about that much money. So unless you absolutely need the (sometimes high priced) OpenSky-sold items, or can ebay them, this may not be the greatest deal for everyone. I could be missing something and my calculations were very rough, but that’s what i came up with so I may pass, but thanks for posting it.

  9. I got in on this yesterday about an hour after the initial e-mail went out. FYI, the “points are not Points” language was in the initial e-mail. Given the consistency with which Mypoints refers to their proprietary points as “Points” and employing Occam’s Razor (why would Mypoints advertise OpenSky points?) I believe that the offer clearly promises Mypoints “Points”.

  10. a cursory look at the site did not produce any GCs available. Maybe there are some but I do not know if I could use any and have not yet become a person to sell in bulk or try to ebay them.

  11. Thanks for the heads up – I’m currently waiting on $500 worth of stuff I don’t really need, although I picked up a few things that may work out as gifts in the next few months.

  12. Did anyone else get a message that they need to CALL OpenSky to confirm their orders, even after some items have shipped now?

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